Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's KO core?

At my school, we require all LIS students in the Master of Information program to take a basic introductory course in knowledge organization (called "Introduction to Bibliographic Control") -- but what we haven't agreed on is the content of such course. We haven't even agreed on the core knowledge that students should have after taking the course. So this winter (2010) we will offer two versions of the same course; this one and this one.

So, of course, students ask: Which version should I take? My stock answer goes like this:
"The two variations of INF 1320 offer different approaches to building the core knowledge that LIS students ought to have re. bibliographic control/knowledge organization. The two variations represent two different educational paradigms within LIS — and as instructors we have chosen to construct our section of the course to support our belief and view of LIS education. So, it is not easy to give you an entirely objective answer to your question...

I think you need to consider what you want to gain from your graduate education -- would you like to gain a solid understanding of the systems and methods for organizing and representing material using tools traditionally used in the broad cross section of libraries or would you like to gain an understanding of theoretical concepts in knowledge organization and approaches to the design of systems for organizing information?

My sense is that both variations of the course will give you a foundation for your career. The foundation will just be quite different depending on which course you take."

But I guess that poses this question: Should we (as instructors of KO) agree on a core KO knowledge that we present to students in a required KO course? If that is not possible, perhaps a solution is to offer many different kinds of foundational courses and let the students themselves decides which kind of foundational knowledge they want/need. That would take the consumer orientated university a step further... but, I guess, it also reflects reality of the vast disagreements within the LIS education community.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps there is no right or wrong view or solution. Therefore the question should be, how can you take the vast disagreements or points of view to construct a more comprehensive, integrated approach teaching to KO? If you can include different modalities and concepts by taking the essence out of each one (instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water), you will be able to be more creative in promoting progression in the field of KO and education.